1 June 2023

Independent Research Fund Denmark supports five social science research projects


Researchers from Economics, Political Science, Psychology and FAOS are among the recipients of the recently announced grants from Independent Research Fund Denmark. Here you can read about the five SAMF projects.

Photo: Francesco Gallarotti, Unsplash
Five budding research projects from the Faculty of Social Sciences receive a total of DKK 23 million in funding from Independent Research Fund Denmark.

Applying the rules of the European Health Union

Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, Professor at the Department of Political Science (DKK 5.1 million)

In October 2020, the European Commission announced a vision of a European Health Union. However, this has long been under construction.

Over time, EU health regulation has grown significantly. Today, the EU regulates cross-border access to healthcare, authorises and monitors medicines, regulates and controls medical devices, conducts health technology assessments, jointly purchases vaccines, and has recently established a new authority for crisis preparedness for cross-border pandemics. cross-border pandemics.

"Our project will contribute new knowledge about the final link in the implementation chain: citizens', companies' and healthcare professionals' encounter with increasing EU regulation, which ultimately determines the significance and impact of the European Health Union we see emerging," says Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen.

Econometric Theory and Applications of Duration and Event Time Models in Economics and Finance

Anders Rahbek, Professor at the Department of Economics (DKK 2.8 million)

Duration and event time models for stock market trades are very popular in finance and economics research in labour market theory and health economics. Waiting times between trades are often observed over the course of a trading day, typically showing periods with many trades (so-called clusters) followed by periods with few trades or little activity.

Notably, the number of trades (and thus the number of latencies) within the day is random or 'stochastic'. This is overlooked in existing econometrics, and conclusions based on current modelling can be misleading. Including stochasticity correctly would lead to a whole new theory for the econometric application of such models.

"The theory is new and difficult to develop, but in our new working paper we show through a simplified and stylised example that new distributions emerge. The shape of the new distributions depends on the clustering mentioned above. In order to correctly model waiting times and trading times, a completely new theory and methodology must be developed, which is also the goal of the project," explains Anders Rahbek.

Implementation and perception in school choice

Anders Bjerre-Nielsen, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics (DKK 6.0 million)

How do high school applicants perceive different schools and how are applicants influenced by the high schools they are admitted to? Answering these questions is crucial to understanding the consequences of measures such as better information for applicants and quotas on socio-economic groups.

Anders Bjerre-Nielsen is leading a project that investigates these questions by using data on upper secondary school admissions in Denmark in combination with background data from registers. The researchers will measure upper secondary school applicants' underlying preferences for enrolment and estimate how they are affected after enrolment. These measures and models make it possible to determine how student distribution between upper secondary schools, for example as a result of quotas, will affect students' propensity to complete the programme and how divided upper secondary schools will be by student background.

"We will also investigate whether the popularity and academic promise of upper secondary schools are correlated, which has important implications for the relationship between upper secondary school distribution and educational inequality. To understand the role of quality in the observed choices, we will compare the applicants' own perception of the quality of upper secondary schools with the measured value in our statistical model," says Anders Bjerre-Nielsen.

Business Power in the High-Salience Politics of Wage Inequality and Climate Change

Christian Lyhne Ibsen, Associate Professor at FAOS (DKK 6.2 million)

Two political issues in particular - rising wage inequality and climate change - are currently attracting a lot of attention and mobilising voters and politicians to oppose free markets. Normally, greater public attention on a political issue means that the private sector loses power in relation to voters as politicians seek re-election. In a new study, Christian Lyhne Ibsen asks: Under what circumstances can business have power even when the public demands that politicians fight inequality and climate change?

"I argue that business can have power if it comes up with proposals for self-regulation that convince voters that government regulation is either unnecessary or undesirable. And when voters no longer reward politicians' proposals for government regulation, business avoids regulation that politicians would otherwise have introduced," he says.

Christian Lyhne Ibsen tests his argument with survey experiments and comparative case analyses of Denmark and Germany's surprisingly different policy approaches to wage regulation and greenhouse gas emissions.

Theory Crisis in Cognitive Neuroscience

Thor Grünbaum, Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology and the Department of Communication (DKK 2.9 million)

Over the past decade, the so-called replication crisis has plagued a wide range of empirical sciences: When researchers repeat their colleagues' experiments, they often reach a different result. Psychology in particular has been the subject of discussion, with estimates suggesting that less than 50% of published studies can be replicated. In recent years, it has been discussed whether experimental problems can be minimised in psychology by creating stronger mathematical theories.

"If you don't have a strong prior theory, you run the risk that your research experiments will lead to useless results. Without a strong theory, you can make a seemingly unlimited number of hypotheses about experimental effects because they are not constrained by a theoretical framework. A science that is methodologically perfect can only be as good as the way experimental studies are designed and organised. And the design of the studies cannot be better than the underlying theory that is being investigated and tested," Thor Grünbaum points out.

In a new project, he and research colleagues are investigating the ways in which the absence of mathematical theories in experimental psychology is a cause of the replication crisis. They also investigate what type of theory can help increase the degree of replicability in experimental psychology.


Simon Knokgaard Halskov
Press and communications officer
Mail: sih@samf.ku.dk
Phone: +45 93 56 53 29


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